Daily News Roundup

November 14, 2018

Image: ABC News

WEDNESDAY November 14

US President Donald Trump has attacked his French counterpart in a series of tweets just two days after returning from commemorations to mark 100 years since the end of World War I in Paris.

In five posts sent on the same day France marked the anniversary of the 2015 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Mr Trump blasted the key US ally over its record in both world wars, its wine industry and Emmanuel Macron’s approval ratings.

Reuter/AP reports carried by the ABC said he also defended his decision to cancel a trip to a US military cemetery after rainy weather grounded his helicopter.

The tweets came after Mr Macron used a speech at the World War I commemorations to issue a warning about the dangers of nationalism.

In the speech to more than 60 heads of state and government on Armistice Day, Mr Macron seemingly directed a message at Mr Trump as he warned of the dangers of nationalism once again threatening world peace, saying “the traces of this war never went away”.

“The old demons are rising again, ready to wreak chaos and death,” he warned.

“History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course again.”

Mr Macron’s comments were widely viewed as a rebuke of Mr Trump, who has embraced the “nationalist” label despite its negative connotations.

The President’s continued complaints about France struck a nerve with some in the European nation, especially since his latest broadsides came on the third anniversary of the Paris terror attacks.

France’s ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, also challenged Mr Trump’s statements alleging Mr Macron wanted to “build an army against the US, China and Russia”.

A top adviser to Mr Macron said the French position on European defence has been “clarified”.

Mr Macron explained the European army issue to Mr Trump during their meeting, stressing that France was not making a choice between a European defence mechanism and multilateral organisations such as NATO, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nearly 1.4 million French soldiers died fighting the Germans during World War I.

Germany invaded France early in World War II, with the German army entering Paris on June 14, 1940.

A large part of France was then occupied by the Germans until 1944 when it was liberated after the Allied landings in Normandy and Provence.

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Hamas and other militant groups say they have accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end two days of intense fighting with Israel that had pushed the sworn enemies to the brink of a new war.

The sudden announcement brought relief to a region that had been paralysed by hundreds of Palestinian rocket attacks in southern Israel and scores of Israeli airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip.

But it did not address the deeper issues that pushed Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers towards their latest violence and left doubts about international efforts to forge a broader truce agreement.

Those efforts had appeared to be making progress in recent days as Israel allowed Qatar to deliver financial aid to the cash-strapped Hamas administration, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he wanted to avert an “unnecessary” war in Gaza.

Hamas, in turn, had scaled back its mass protests that have led to weekly bloodshed along the Israeli border.

But hours after Mr Netanyahu spoke on Sunday, an Israeli commando unit on an undercover mission was caught behind enemy lines in Gaza by Hamas militants.

Their discovery set off a battle that led to the deaths of seven Palestinian militants, including a Hamas commander, and an Israeli officer, and triggered the heaviest barrage of rockets fired from Gaza since a 2014 war.

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired 460 rockets and mortars into Israel in a 24-hour period, while it carried out air strikes on 160 targets in Gaza.

The fighting saw another seven Palestinians, including five militants, killed, with 26 people injured.

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My Health Record: Greg Hunt extends opt-out deadline as website hits issues

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has extended the deadline for opting out of the Government’s contentious My Health Record system.

He confirmed the delay on Twitter within hours of the opt-out website suffering issues and the Senate agreeing to an extension.

“The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it’s important to note that people can opt-out at any time,” he said.

The opt-out website suffered issues on Wednesday morning as Australians tried to remove themselves from the scheme ahead of the previous deadline, which was set to expire at 3:00am (AEDT) on Friday.

The Senate is currently debating the legislation, but already agreed to extend the opt-out deadline to the end of January.

The amendment needed to return to the House of Representatives to be formally adopted into law, but Mr Hunt intervened to extend the cut-off.

Every Australian with a Medicare card will automatically be given a digital record containing their medical history unless they opt out before the deadline.

The site appeared to be unavailable to some users on Wednesday morning. It became available again at approximately 12.30pm.

There have also been complaints about difficulties opting out via telephone.

But the agency responsible for My Health insisted the website and telephone helpline were both “operational”.

“We are experiencing high demand, which has slowed the system down, and some people have experienced difficulties opting out this morning,” an Australian Digital Health Agency spokesperson said in a statement.

“These issues have now been resolved.

“The agency anticipated higher call volumes and has increased the number of helpline operators available to support callers.”

 

This daily news roundup is curated by stories from ABC News.

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